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Becoming American?

The Forging of Arab and Muslim Identity in Pluralist America

Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad

Countless generations of Arabs and Muslims have called the United States"home."Yet while diversity and pluralism continue to define contemporary America, many Muslims are viewed by their neighbors as painful reminders of conflict and violence. In this concise volume, renowned historian Yvonne Haddad argues that American Muslim identity is as uniquely American it is for as any other race, nationality, or religion.

Becoming American? first traces the history of Arab and Muslim immigration into Western society during the 19th and 20th centuries, revealing a two-fold disconnect between the cultures—America's unwillingness to accept these new communities at home and the activities of radical Islam abroad. Urging America to reconsider its tenets of religious pluralism, Haddad reveals that the public square has more than enough room to accommodate those values and ideals inherent in the moderate Islam flourishing throughout the country. In all, in remarkable, succinct fashion, Haddad prods readers to ask what it means to be truly American and paves the way forward for not only increased understanding but for forming a Muslim message that is capable of uplifting American society.

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Becoming Black Political Subjects

Movements and Ethno-Racial Rights in Colombia and Brazil

Tianna S. Paschel

After decades of denying racism and underplaying cultural diversity, Latin American states began adopting transformative ethno-racial legislation in the late 1980s. In addition to symbolic recognition of indigenous peoples and black populations, governments in the region created a more pluralistic model of citizenship and made significant reforms in the areas of land, health, education, and development policy. Becoming Black Political Subjects explores this shift from color blindness to ethno-racial legislation in two of the most important cases in the region: Colombia and Brazil.

Drawing on archival and ethnographic research, Tianna Paschel shows how, over a short period, black movements and their claims went from being marginalized to become institutionalized into the law, state bureaucracies, and mainstream politics. The strategic actions of a small group of black activists—working in the context of domestic unrest and the international community's growing interest in ethno-racial issues—successfully brought about change. Paschel also examines the consequences of these reforms, including the institutionalization of certain ideas of blackness, the reconfiguration of black movement organizations, and the unmaking of black rights in the face of reactionary movements.

Becoming Black Political Subjects offers important insights into the changing landscape of race and Latin American politics and provokes readers to adopt a more transnational and flexible understanding of social movements.

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Becoming Worthy Ancestors

Archive, public deliberation and identity in South Africa

Why should nations care for their archives and develop a sense of shared identity? And why should these processes take place in the public domain? How can nations speak about a shared sense of identity in pluralistic societies where individuals and groups have multiple identities? And how can such conversations be given relevance in public discussions of reconciliation and development in South Africa? These are the issues that this volume, based on the Public Conversations lecture series – an initiative of the Constitution of Public Intellectual Life Project at Wits University – proceeded from in 2006. Crosscurrents in contemporary South Africa have made the resumption of public debate to clarify the meanings of identity and citizenship and to develop an understanding of ‘archive’ even more urgent. The title comes from Weber’s point, elaborated on in the chapter by Benedict Anderson, that the future asks us to be worthy ancestors to those not yet born. In a charged environment of public dialogue, the editor hopes to inspire a rethinking of the essence of what it means to be a citizen of South Africa. Becoming Worthy Ancestors aims to make accessible the theoretically informed, sometimes highly academic work of its various contributors.

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Before the Revolution

Women's Rights and Right-Wing Politics in Nicaragua, 1821–1979

By Victoria González- Rivera

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Between two worlds of father politics

USA or Sweden?

Michael Rush

The essential message of the ‘two regimes’ model is that the social politics of fatherhood have taken on a global significance and that the USA and Sweden represent two ends of an international continuum of ways of thinking about fatherhood. The key selling points of the two regimes model are its topicality, originality, its global appeal, and its particularised appeal to readers in the USA, the Nordic countries, Great Britain, Ireland, the European Union, Japan and China. The book offers students a comparative analytical framework and new insights into why some welfare states have ‘father-friendly’ social policies and others do not. The book makes an original contribution to the growing fields of welfare regime and gender studies by linking the epochal decline of patriarchal fatherhood to welfare state expansion over the course of the twentieth century and it raises new questions about the legitimacy of religiously inspired neo-patriarchy.

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Beyond Displacement

Campesinos, Refugees, and Collective Action in the Salvadoran Civil War

Molly Todd

During the civil war that wracked El Salvador from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, the Salvadoran military tried to stamp out dissidence and insurgency through an aggressive campaign of crop-burning, kidnapping, rape, killing, torture, and gruesome bodily mutilations. Even as human rights violations drew world attention, repression and war displaced more than a quarter of El Salvador’s population, both inside the country and beyond its borders. Beyond Displacement examines how the peasant campesinos of war-torn northern El Salvador responded to violence by taking to the hills. Molly Todd demonstrates that their flight was not hasty and chaotic, but was a deliberate strategy that grew out of a longer history of collective organization, mobilization, and self-defense.

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Beyond Gated Politics

Reflections for the Possibility of Democracy

Romand Coles

In the early years of the new millennium, the practice of democracy in America and around the world faces tremendous dangers: the proliferation of transnational corporations, the spread of oppressive fundamentalism, and environmental collapse. Within the United States, opposition to increasingly antidemocratic political and economic policies has been either nonexistent or unsuccessful. This trend includes, but far exceeds, the Bush administration’s policies from the Patriot Act and the war on Iraq to the “Clear Channelization” of the media and the private development of public lands. 

In Beyond Gated Politics, political theorist and grassroots activist Romand Coles argues that the survival of democracy depends on recognizing the failings of disengaged liberal democracy—the exclusions and subjugations that accompany every democratic “we,” for example—and experimenting with more radical modes of democratic theory and action. Among those brought into the conversation are John Howard Yoder, John Rawls, Alisdair MacIntyre, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Audre Lorde. 

Coles, whose work is deeply informed by his own experiences as an activist, pays close attention to the actual practice of democracy with particular interest in emerging social movements. In doing so, he not only moves beyond the paradigms of political liberalism, deliberative democracy, and communitarian republicanism, but also cultivates multidimensional modes of public discourse that reflect and sustain the creative tension at the heart of democratic life and responsibility. 

Romand Coles is professor of political theory at Duke University. His previous books include Rethinking Generosity: Critical Theory and the Politics of Caritas and Self/Power/Other: Political Theory and Dialogical Ethics.

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Binational Human Rights

The U.S.-Mexico Experience

Edited by William Paul Simmons and Carol Mueller

Mexico ranks highly on many of the measures that have proven significant for creating a positive human rights record, including democratization, good health and life expectancy, and engagement in the global economy. Yet the nation's most vulnerable populations suffer human rights abuses on a large scale, such as gruesome killings in the Mexican drug war, decades of violent feminicide, migrant deaths in the U.S. desert, and the ongoing effects of the failed detention and deportation system in the States. Some atrocities have received extensive and sensational coverage, while others have become routine or simply ignored by national and international media. Binational Human Rights examines both well-known and understudied instances of human rights crises in Mexico, arguing that these abuses must be understood not just within the context of Mexican policies but in relation to the actions or inactions of other nations—particularly the United States.

The United States and Mexico share the longest border in the world between a developed and a developing nation; the relationship between the two nations is complex, varied, and constantly changing, but the policies of each directly affect the human rights situation across the border. Binational Human Rights brings together explain the mechanisms by which a perfect storm of structural and policy factors on both sides has led to such widespread human rights abuses.

Contributors: Alejandro Anaya Muñoz, Luis Alfredo Arriola Vega, Timothy J. Dunn, Miguel Escobar-Valdez, Clara Jusidman, Maureen Meyer, Carol Mueller, Julie A. Murphy Erfani, William Paul Simmons, Kathleen Staudt, Michelle Téllez.

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Black Mosaic

The Politics of Black Pan-Ethnic Diversity

Candis Watts Smith

Historically, Black Americans have easily found common ground on political, social, and economic goals. Yet, there are signs of increasing variety of opinion among Blacks in the United States, due in large part to the influx of Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean, and African immigrants to the United States. In fact, the very definition of “African American” as well as who can self-identity as Black is becoming more ambiguous. Should we expect African Americans’ shared sense of group identity and high sense of group consciousness to endure as ethnic diversity among the population increases? In Black Mosaic, Candis Watts Smith addresses the effects of this dynamic demographic change on Black identity and Black politics.

Smith explores the numerous ways in which the expanding and rapidly changing demographics of Black communities in the United States call into question the very foundations of political identity that has united African Americans for generations. African Americans’ political attitudes and behaviors have evolved due to their historical experiences with American Politics and American racism. Will Black newcomers recognize the inconsistencies between the American creed and American reality in the same way as those who have been in the U.S. for several generations? If so, how might this recognition influence Black immigrants’ political attitudes and behaviors? Will race be a site of coalition between Black immigrants and African Americans? In addition to face-to-face interviews with African Americans and Black immigrants, Smith employs nationally representative survey data to examine these shifts in the attitudes of Black Americans. Filling a significant gap in the political science literature to date, Black Mosaic is a groundbreaking study about the state of race, identity, and politics in an ever-changing America.

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The Black Panther Party in a City near You

Edited by Judson L. Jeffries

This is the third volume in Judson L. Jeffries’s long-range effort to paint a more complete portrait of the most widely known organization to emerge from the 1960s Black Power Movement. Like its predecessors (Comrades: A Local History of the Black Panther Party [2007] and On the Ground: The Black Panther Party in Communities across America [2010]), this volume looks at Black Panther Party (BPP) activity in sites outside Oakland, the most studied BPP locale and the one long associated with oversimplified and underdeveloped narratives about, and distorted images of, the organization.

The cities covered in this volume are Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, and Washington, D.C. The contributors examine official BPP branches and chapters as well as offices of the National Committee to Combat Fascism that evolved into full-fledged BPP chapters and branches. They have mined BPP archives and interviewed members to convey the daily ups-and-downs related to BPP’s social-justice activities and to reveal the diversity of rank-and-file BPP members’ personal backgrounds and the legal, political, and social skills, or baggage, that they brought to the BPP.

The BPP reportedly had a presence in some forty places across the country. During this time, no other Black Power Movement organization fed as many children, provided healthcare to as many residents, educated as many adults, assisted as many senior citizens, and clothed as many people. In point of fact, no other organization of the Black Power era had as great an impact on American lives as did the BPP. Nonetheless, when Jeffries undertook this project, chapter-level scholarly investigations of the BPP were few and far between. This third book, The Black Panther Party in a City Near You, raises the number of BPP branches that Jeffries and his contributors have examined to seventeen.

Contributors: Curtis Austin, Judson L. Jeffries, Charles E. Jones, Ava Kinsey, Duncan MacLaury, Sarah Nicklas, John Preusser.

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